While a new Camry or thrilling Mercedes may be groundbreaking in their own ways, Land Rover brought something truly unique to the New York Auto Show when it unveiled the Discovery Vision Concept on April 16. Showcasing technology that creates the illusion of a see-through hood, Land Rover’s concept SUV would be among the most luxurious and safest vehicles on the road.
Aside from the utilitarian Camry and Nissan Versa that made their debuts on the first day of the New York event, luxury vehicles dominated the first day of the show. Here are six rides that set the tone.
1. Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept
With its Discovery Vision Concept, Land Rover is introducing a vehicle with an “invisible” hood that shows the driver what’s beneath the wheels. That allows for clear views of what’s ahead, as well as what’s creating danger for the vehicle when backing up or stuck in a tight space. Special cameras placed in the front grille supply this groudbreaking visual effect.
Land Rover surprised the audience at the end of its presentation when company officials said this new concept was much more than a design whimsy. It will be called the “Discovery Sport” and make its official debut worldwide in 2015.
2. Audi A3 TDI Sportback
Another surprise on the opening day of the NY Auto Show came in the form of the Audi A3 TDI Sportback from Volkswagen’s luxury brand. Combining impressive fuel efficiency achieved through clean diesel technology and the looks of a sporty sedan, Audi’s addition to the A3 line apparently came at the demand of the brand’s loyal fan base. Its 2.0-liter TDI engine provides 150 horsepower.
3. 2015 Acura TLX
Honda’s premium brand made a splash of its own on the first day of New York’s annual show. Two models of the new 2015 Acura TLX debuted at the automaker’s press conference. Announced engine choices include the 2.4-liter, 16-valve, four-cylinder model with 204 horsepower and the 3.5-liter, 24-valve V6 that can push the power to 290 hp. An all-wheel-drive model of the V6 will be available when the TLX makes its U.S. debut at the end of 2014.
4. Volkswagen 2015 Golf SportWagen
Volkswagen is phasing out the Jetta sport wagon it sells, but the automaker flashed the 2015 Golf SportWagen concept on the first day of the New York spectacle. This Golf sports all-wheel drive and a clean diesel engine while improving upon the interior room of the Jetta. Somehow, the new VW wagon is lighter yet stronger than its predecessor. Slated for an early 2015 release, it fills a slot that would have been left open if VW retired its Jetta wagon in the U.S.
5. Alfa Romeo 4C
It’s been decades since Alfa Romeo sold cars in the United States, but all that ended with the arrival of the 2015 4C at the 2014 NY Auto Show. The all new 4c is notable for its use of carbon fibers as well as its mid-range, all-aluminum engine. These weight-saving elements provide the thrills the 4C has been known for abroad. When 237 hp is matched to 258 lb-ft of torque in a lightweight package, the thrill of an Alfa Romeo comes into focus.
6. Nissan Sport Sedan Concept
Nissan unveiled its new Murano crossover in New York, but the sport sedan concept first seen in Detroit was turning more heads following the press conference. Both vehicles reflect the design sensibility showcased in the new wave of Nissan automobiles. This sport concept is expected to influence the next iteration of the Maxima and other sedans in the Nissan lineup, but it would have the most appeal as a production model based on the existing car. Even in a crowded field of dazzling cars, the Nissan concept held its own in New York.